LitRPG Podcast 160
LitRPG Podcast 160
March 1st, 2019
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 160 of the LitRPG podcast. For the full show notes visit us at: https://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-podcast-160
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 6 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Now with a bit of town building.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Some good parts, but the story felt forced and while LitRPG it had more of a portal fantasy vibe.
Score: 6 out of 10
Light LitRPG, but good storytelling and world building.
Score: 7.3 out of 10
A pretty good action focused LitRPG story. Lots of good fights with a mix of PvE and PvP battles.
Score: 7.3 out of 10
A good sequel, heavy Monster Hunter influence.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Good action, but not enough to carry the story
Score: 6 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Dave Wilmarths upcoming book had a slight name change. The title is now Shadow Sun Survival , while it was Dark Sun Survival before. It is still going to release March the 5th.
Jeffrey Falcon Logue, author of the Slime Dungeon Chronicles, has been working on a slime platformer based on that LitRPG world. He announced this week that he is almost done with the new demo which will have a new boss. Also, that he’s setup social media for the game project. So, go follow/like/whatever if you want to support him and get updates on the game.
Daniel Schinhofen announced this week that he finally got his merchandising setup. He is selling t-shirts and hats with images and logos of his various novel properties if you want to go buy them.
There is a new LitRPG reviewer, Lavelle Jackson, on YouTube who publishes under the name LitRPG Re-Roll, just wanted to give a shout out to the reviewer. He’s taken the time to not only read but put together his thoughts on the story and game mechanics. He’s only done a few reviews so far but I’m sure he plans to do more. Good luck to you man and keep putting up those video reviews!
Mountaindale Press is taking submissions for an anthology set in the Divine Dungeon Universe. There are a bunch of details you’ll have to be aware of including a deadline for submission of March 25th. But this is a chance to write in your favorite story universe.
☑️Four stories (besides mine) will be selected for the anthology
☑️Stories should be 8,000-12,000 words
☑️Stories must be original
☑️Authors are limited to one submission
☑️Stories MUST fit within the established world
☑️Stories must follow a character C rank or below – one that you create or a canon character, but if writing about a member of Dale’s party you must stick to their back story
☑️Stories should have little to no sexual content
☑️Because these stories are set in the Divine Dungeon world, unaccepted submissions cannot be published for monetary compensation of any form by the author
☑️Stories should have a strong ending (i.e. no cliffhanger)
All stories will be read by me and several other super fans. The four stories we like the best will be published and monetary compensation for the contributing authors discussed once selected! Deadline for submission is March 25th. Email your submission in using this link and under "reason for message" select "anthology": https://www.mountaindalepress.com/contact . Looking forward to reading your work!!
I’m speculating a little here, but this also may be a way for Mountaindale press to check out talent for an expanded universe too. Recently, the publishers of Viridian Gate Online released several expanded universe novels. Stories set in the VGO universe but written by new authors with original characters. However, they started with anthology submissions too. Mountaindale Press might be doing something similar. I don’t know that they are, this is speculation.
The interview with Dan Sugralinov, author of Level UP series, I did last week has been edited so that the parts where translation occurs is a more streamlined. But please check it out, it was a really fun and insightful conversation. We talked about Dan’s writing process, how he balances writing and family time, inspiration for his stories, and how when he was a kid he wrote an alternate 3rd Lord of the Rings novel cause in Russia they only translated two of the books.
Also, note that Dan actually sent in written responses to all the pre-interview questions I sent him so you have the unique opportunity to read his answers. Even a few to questions he didn’t get asked in the video interview.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
The Black Turtle (The Artar Chronicles Book 2) (March 5th, 2019)
Shadow Sun Survival (March 5th, 2019)
Vindication (The Alchemic Weaponeer - Book 1) (March 14th, 2019)
Absolute Zero (Adam Online Book #1) LitRPG Series (March 18th, 2019)
Max Lagno is the co-author for Level Up: Knockout
The Final Trial (Level Up Book #3) LitRPG Series (March 25th, 2019)
Dark World [Transformation. Book II] (March 27th, 2019)
Edge of the Abyss (Respawn Trials Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 10th, 2019)
Dukes and Ladders: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 5) (April 11th, 2019)
(April 16th, 2019)
(April 18th, 2019)
Class-A Threat (Disgardium Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 22nd, 2019)
(April 25th, 2019)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Four: The Loot: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 4)
Montana Coggeshall, duke of Coggeshall, defeater of dungeons, he of far fewer intelligence points than is probably recommended, is finally ready to start building his dukedom. He just needs one more thing before he can leave Osterstadt: a few hardworking friends to join him on this adventure.
Well, and some lumber. And nails and whatnot. And enough food to get through the winter. And probably some more gold.
All Montana needs before he can leave Osterstadt are some friends, some building materials, food, and money.
But he did promise to retrieve some magic texts from a cemetery for Emmeline. And he really should try to help the lost little boy who keeps following him around. And all the undead in that basement crypt aren’t going to re-kill themselves.
Maybe Montana’s taken on a few too many side quests.
My Opinion: 312 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Another good read. Slice of life. Good action adventure. A good amount of town building as the MC establishes his dukedom.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Quest Accepted (XP: Unlocked Book One) A LitRPG Fantasy Series
Getting in was easy. Getting out will be the challenge of their lives.
Trapped on opposite ends of an immersive virtual reality fantasy game world, Evan and his sister Audyn embark on a quest where the choices they make can tip the scales of life and death. Their only hope lies in learning magic, crafting, skills, and forming unlikely alliances, to confront an evil intent on destroying them.
They must rely on the power they find both within the world and themselves to survive, before they are locked in forever.
My Opinion: 377 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A bit of a miss for me. The story feels pretty forced sometimes and the cyberpunk reason for the main characters (MCs) to be trapped in the game in the first place was such a waste. It really doesn’t impact the story and is explained in a rush at the end. Ultimately the story is pretty slice of life with the MCs getting trapped in a game and going on adventures that kill them repeatedly, without consequence, until they get some levels. Then a ‘chosen one’ plot is forced on them and that plays out pretty predictably. The action ok, but not great.
Game mechanic wise there are character sheets, stats, skill increases, levels. But it all doesn't feel like it matters. Like increases on strength or intelligence don't seem to have an appreciable effect on combat or the story. Oh, there are notifications galore and characters acknowledge them but there aren't damage notifications or details that show stat increases mean anything. This gives the story more more of a portal fantasy vibe sometimes even though there are notifications and character sheets.
Overall, even though it had an good sense of humor and decent character development, the story as a whole didn’t work for me. However, if you prefer more of a fantasy novel vibe to your LitRPG, this may work better for you.
Score: 6 out of 10
Code of the Necromancer : A LitRPG Series (Book 2)
Cast your spells. Earn EXP. Bring the dead back to life.
Death fears the men who can use magic against it, but what are those guys scared of?
Well, necromancers are only human. Jakub Russo has a big heart but a dark past, and when he's banished from the magical academy for failure in his first assignment, he finds himself needing new allies, new spells, and new weapons.
A world of secrets and spells awaits outside the academy doors, and Jakub knows that one day, he'll master them all. If he can find his own code, he'll become the best necromancer who ever lived.
This is book 2 in the Necromancer series. It can be read as a standalone, but I recommend starting with book 1, Path of the Necromancer.
My Opinion: 275 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This one is even lighter on LitRPG than book 1 and leans more towards fantasy. This is especially true for the beginning part of the novel which deals with the fallout from the events of book 1 and setup for the intrigue/thriller aspects of the story. This is completely in line with how the magic system works in the story universe with necromancer XP only being gained when the MC uses his spells or gathers death essence. There’s more RPG progression by the middle of the story but it is pretty light before that. Still, it’s an entertaining story with good action, tension, murderous bad guys that are pretty bad. The story gets a little dark sometimes but there’s lots of good character development and world building.
Score: 7.3 out of 10
Occultist (Saga Online #1) - A Fantasy LitRPG
Damien thought his exams would be bad enough. Then his mother collapsed with a failing heart.
In a desperate move Damien throws himself into the Streamer Contest of Saga Online, the latest fantasy VR-MMORPG. Winning will provide the funds for his mom's surgery. Yet early betrayal and a close run in with a vampire almost ruin his attempt before he even begins.
Stuck at the bottom of a dungeon with no gear, no allies and little hope, Damien must embrace the undiscovered Occultist class, master control of his new demon companions and take the contest by storm.
His plan is simple enough. Topple the most famous player in Saga Online.
Summon your imps. Prepare for battle!
My Opinion: 482 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A pretty good action focused LitRPG story. Lots of good fights with a mix of PvE and PvP battles. There’s some interesting summoner class stuff with the RPG progression but nothing I haven’t seen before.
The IRL storyline is probably the weakest aspect and I didn’t like it at all with the exception of meeting the romantic interest. But the ‘gaming to save his sick mom’ by winning the streaming competition felt like a forced plotline that wasn’t needed and often didn’t make sense. The game stuff was good enough on its own.
Overall, a good action-adventure story with consistent game mechanics. Sure, there are a couple places the story feels forced down a particular path, but it’s not anything that ruins the story for me.
Score: 7.3 out of 10
Hunter's Choice: A LitRPG Adventure (Apex Chronicles Book 2)
It's only been a couple of weeks since Arheis and his friends took down the Nepondus Queen and already they're starved for work. If they want to test their new skills and grow stronger, Arheis knows they'll have to get out of their comfort zone and leave the tutorial area behind.
Following a lead that could help them destroy more beast-frenzying crystals, Arheis and his companions make their way to Iskaral. Little do they know a dangerous beast lurks in the caverns beneath the city, gorging itself on those same crystals, threatening the lives of those above.
And this creature is just the beginning of their troubles. The world of Estalia is ever-evolving and Arheis is starting to believe it's more than just a game. When push comes to shove, he'll have to let go of the world he knows and exist in the moment.
His friends' lives may very well depend on it.
My Opinion: 437 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This can actually be read as a stand alone novel. It does a really good job of quickly telling the reader about the main character (MC), his relationship with other characters, and the game world. The novel is definitely inspired by the Monster Hunter games and is very faithful to the feel of those games. Like book 1, most of the action takes place on hunts. The MC and his group get a bounty, research the monster, track it, plan a specific way to hunt, and struggle in the fight barely winning. Or just dying and trying something new next time. I always like that the author carries over that aspect of the Monster Hunter game, dying alot till you learn how to hunt a specific monster.
This novel there is more interpersonal relation building and a bit of romance, some intrigue, and a mystery that pushed the MC and his group to new locations.
Overall, anyone that likes the Monster Hunter franchise will appreciate all the nods the author has to those games in the novel. Even folks that aren’t familiar with those games will like this though. Good action, nice world building, but a unique emphasis on semi-realistic monster hunting as a game mechanic.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
VOID LEGION: A LitRPG/Gamelit Saga (The Frost Files Book 1)
Misfortune comes in fours for sixteen-year-old Andre Taylor. Each one worse than the next. He had to quit school, quit gaming, and his father died. Life sucked. It couldn’t get worse. Until a car accident left his pregnant mother in a coma and his little sister a hostage.
To save them, Dre must excel at Ataxia Online 2: Void Legion, a Simulated Reality Multiplayer Online Game. Now, powerful factions want him dead, Player Killers hunt him, a lethal plague sweeps across the land, and nightmare creatures from a voidstorm stand in his path.
Can Dre survive against overwhelming odds and unearth the secrets of the Void Legion? Can he convince a girl who wants to duel him to the death to fight on his side? He must. Or a fate worse than death awaits.
Note: Includes some profanity, adult themes, and graphic situations.
My Opinion: 377 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a LitRPG novel that tries to do a lot of stuff. The novel does a good job on the RPG sections. There are detailed game mechanics, the main character (MC) feels like a true gamer, the MC has an interesting class, the fights feel like the RPG powers matter, and there is good RPG progression. Additionally, the fights are well described and feel very actiony. Good stuff.
Where the novel loses me, is in much of the rest of the story. There’s a cyberpunk/cyber thriller real world storyline that I just never liked or bought into. It just didn’t make sense to me. But I could almost ignore that if I connected with either the real world or game world. But that never happened for me either because of the way that the world building was done.
Both the real life and game world lore and world building felt kind of flat to me. The information about both was always presented as an info dump. The MC would just rattle off statements that could have been really interesting, but instead they were just kind of thrown out there with a bunch of names but no context or depth about why events happen. I mean, in this novel, the USA doesn’t exist. There was a civil war and some foreign powers were involved and there’s now two countries and for some reason there’s an organization that controls how many kids get born. All that seems like it would make for some great stories, but the author never goes into depth about it. There are just statements that these things exist and then the story moves on.
The same is true for the game world building, only it’s even harder to connect to that world. Instead of the MC gradually learning the history of the world, races, or factions by talking to NPCs or through his own research, he just automatically knows everything about the world because the game implants the knowledge. It’s conveyed by MC as recollections, but again, it’s all spit out as statements with no context given or depth. It came across to me as a very awkward way to convey details. You lose a sense of discovery because the MC describes it like he remembers it but there is this dissonance because you know he can't have. Details about battles he, even as as his character, wouldn't have been in and bits of history or lore he wouldn't have been privy to as a child or adolescent in that world. He would talk to other people as his character, referencing implanted fantasy/background history, but it never felt genuine.
Overall, I liked the action, how much of a gamer the MC came across as, and the RPG stuff. However, I never connected with the motivation for the MC, the real world, or game world.
Score: 6 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
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